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God there; I said, Deut. v. 23. 28. 'All that the « Lord our God Mall say unto us, we will hear and
do it; And like the Scribe that came to Christ. Luke ix. 57. 'Master I will follow thec whitherso• ever thou goeft.'
5. When I had once done this, then I concluded all was right; For, 1. I found a sort of a present peace. Ammendinent I thought sufficient attone. ment, and such an engagement I looked on as performance. I now said, Prov. 7. 14. I have peaceofferings with me': this day I have paid my vows. 2. I at this time found frequently an unusual sweetness in hearing of the word, especially in hearing Mr. Forrester lecture on Afts xiii. 43, on the fabbathnight. Here as I received sometime the most piercing convictions, I Cor. xiv. 25. so I received Tastes of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. Heb vi. 5. This like the stony ground, I heard the word, and anon with joy received it. Matth. xiii. 20. 3. Common gifts increasing as light grew, I took them for special grace, and thus have taken up with the foolish Virgins, the lam) of a profession without Oil. Matth. XXV. 1. I began to set up for a Vir. gin too, and like such I began to be esteemed by some of them for that which really I was not, but only appear'd to be.
. 6. But the merciful and good God would not suffer me to rest here. Jer. ii. 35, 36, 37. 'Yet thou (sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall ..turn from me. Behold I will plead with thee, be. • cause thou fayest, I have not sinned. Why gaddelt • thou about so much to change thy way? Thou al• fo salt be asham’d of Egypt, as thou wast alham'd • of Allyria. Yea thou shalt go'forth from him, and " thine hands upon thine head : For the Lord hath
rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prof.
per in them.' The Lord. quickly let me see my. mistake; For, i The imaginary peace that I had by
making this covenant, was quickly lost by breaking it. Corruption retaining still its power, its locks not being yet cut, whenever a temptation offered ; Judg. xvi. 21. like Sampson upon a cry of the Philistines being on him, it broke all those ties, with which I foolishly,like his deceived mistress, thought it bound: Like the children of Israel at Sinai, * I engaged fair' ly, and herein thought all right; but when I came to Kibrothhattaavah, which was the next Station in their way through the wilderness, and a temptation fell in my way, I felt å murmuring, loathing the Manna, and lusting after the flesh, and this broke all, The Lord's wrath hereon being afresh intimated against me, as it was against them on that occasion, 2. Not only upon such breaches met I with new chal. lenges, but old ones were reviv'd; and by this I found former accounts still to be standing against me, which fill'd me with confusion and jealousies of these ways.fer. ii. 22, For though thou wash thee with nitre and take the much rope, yet thine iniquity is marked before me faith the Lord. 3. The Lord insinuated fome discoveries of the treachery of my engage ments; let me see how my heart was not found, and how there were secret reserves in my engagments for fome sins from which my heart was not divorced ; though yet I remember, that at the time I made those engagements, when my heart put in for sparing these, my light forc'd me, as it were for the present, though not without reluctancy, to give them up, at least in words; but really I did not do it, Now the Lord gave some intimations of this heart-treachery, . which when further discovered by the event, my covenant could not quiet me about: Deut. v. 29. They have well spoken all that they have said. O that there were such a heart in them. 4. The Lord let loose
some : * Deat. v. 27. &c, compared with Numb. xxxiii. 16. and Numb, xi. 34.
some corruptions like the Canaanites to try me, took off the restraints, and then like water damm'd in, they became more violent and troublesome, and at length bore down all that I had set in their way: By these means the Lord let me see the fruitlessness and vanity of this covenant, which however specious like, was indeed but a covenant with death : And by the discovery I was put into the utmost confusion, while the evil, I thought I was provided against came upon me: Ifa. xxviii. 19. 20. From the time that it go • ech forth it shall take you : For morning by morn
ning fall it pass over, by day and by night, and it shall be a vexation only to understand the re
port. For the bed is shorter, than that a man, can • stretch himself on it: And the covering narrow"er,than he can wrap himself in it.' This I found veri. fied to my fad experience,
7. Notwithstanding the felt vanity of these legal, selfish, anti-evangelical courses, I still cleaved to them: For, 1. The peace I lost by breaking, I still endeavoured to recover by renewing my covenant, trusting myself is the greatness of my way, and laboured in the fire. My heart when I was defeat, gave me such advice as the king of Syria, got from his fervants, when he was defeat by Israel; Number an army like thou hast loft, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot, and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. 1 Kings. xx. 25. I laid the blame still on some accidental defect in my former management, and I thought were that provided against, all would be well. 2. When still i found some. thing wanting, I cast about in my own mind, and contriv'd to make it up with something extraordinary of my own, the multiplication of duties, or some such thing or other. Micah vi. 6, 7. " Wherewith < shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself be
fore the high God ? Shall I come before him with i burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will
e multicab vi and bowe him wi
the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with s ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first
born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ?
8 But still these vain refuges fail'd me,and my case was truly miserable whilc pursuing them. lla, xxx. 1, 2, 3. • Wo to the rebellious children, faith the
Lord, that take counsel, but not of me: And that 'cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that
they may add sin to fin: That walk to go down to ' Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth,to strength'en themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to . trust in the shadow of Egypt. Therefore shall the • strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the shade
dow of Egypt your confusion.' Now, as I was really miserable in following those courses, so, if the Lord of infinite mercy had not prevented it, I had landed in one of four sad issues, wherein oft-times such ex.
ercises and courses teminate ; Either, 1. If I had been F's freed from convictions, or the Lord had given 0
ver his striving with me, and carrying on the work
the length of a form of religion, I had surely not-
tisfied with that, as having found the life of my hand,
grieved.' Or, 2. if convictions had been carried on,
plain atheit for my conviell the ways
nants, en gements, and resolutions, breaches and disquitements, engagernents and false peace, breathes and racking coa victions would alternatively have taken place ; " And thus I had spent my days, and • at the end been a fool. Jer. xvii. 11. Or, 3. After I had weariad myfelf for a while in those vain ways, I would hare utterly given up with religion as a vain thing, and maid, with those mentioned by the prophet, who taid, It is rain to serve God; and what pro« tio is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that
we hare walked mournfully before the Lord of * Holts??' Mal. iii. 14. And so with them I had gone over to plain atheisin and profanity. Or, 4. Being forced to feek shelter for my convictions; and being so oft and fadly disappointed by all the ways I tried, I had at lalt ended in despair, like Judas, and fiid, 2 Kings vi. 33. This evil is of the Lord, why wuit l y longer, like that wicked king? And in very deed I had some experience of all these issues, Sometimes I sat down with the form, Rev. iii, 17. and juded I was rich and increased in goods, and tood in need of nothing. Sometimes I wea:ied myself in running from one of those vain courses to ano. ther. At other seasons I turn'd careless, as finding no profit, and was just at throwing up all care of reli: gion. And very oft I was upon the very brink of despair, almost quite distracted.
9. When I was thus disapointed, especially after the making, and frequent repeating of vows and engage. menis, I was cast into the utmost perplexity to find where the fault lay. I found this way of covenanting with God, recomended by minifters, mentioned in the scripture, and the people of God declared they had found the benefit of it. I could not challenge my felf, at least at some times, for known guile in the ma. king of it. What I engag'd to do, I was resolv'd upon at the time. I did engage with much concern and solemnity; and for some time after, I would have